(ISIS supporters’ image)

Pandemic Narratives: Pro-Islamic State Media and the Coronavirus

Although the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brought much of the world to a stand-still, the internet has allowed people to remain virtually connected and updated on the latest COVID-19-related news, including violent extremist groups and terrorist organizations. In the case of the Islamic State, unofficial media networks, consisting of decentralized Islamic State supporters online, have produced a wide range of responses to the pandemic. Documenting these narratives offers insights into how a decentralized media ecosystem allows space for supporters to converge and diverge from the viewpoints presented in official propaganda, tailor messages for a global audience, boost morale among supporters, and utilize the momentum of a catastrophic event to expand upon carefully shaped narratives previously developed by the terrorist organization.

The authors’ dataset identified 11 themes and narratives in online Islamic State supporter content, which provides a framework for closer analysis on how Islamic State supporters are reacting to COVID-19. The authors argue that Islamic State supporters are essential elements in the Islamic State’s messaging, helping shape narratives and ideals among the broader Islamic State community. During a global pandemic, this serves a number of purposes, such as developing a stronger sense of community; maintaining and shaping in-groups, out-groups, and notions of the “other;” supporting and advising; and offering opportunities to express anger, fear, and antipathy in an uncertain world. This article provides a detailed explanation of the themes and narratives found in the dataset, offering a comprehensive overview of pro-Islamic State unofficial media responses to the coronavirus. Although a number of official Islamic State media products—including issues of its Al Naba newsletter and an audio message from May 28, 2020, by the Islamic State’s official spokesman, Abu Hamza al-Qurashi1—make references to the virus, understanding what the Islamic State’s central media is saying about COVID-19 is important; knowing what the group’s wider community is saying may be even more so.

Read more at CTC Sentinel

(Visited 139 times, 1 visits today)

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Latest from Counterterrorism

Go to Top
X
X